NEW LONDON, Mo. (AP) __ Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon believes that an
electric cooperative in a rural northeast Missouri county could be
setting a trend for other rural areas of the nation to follow.
Nixon was in New London on Thursday to formally launch the Ralls
County Electric Cooperative’s fiber Internet initiative. He was
joined by Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.
The co-op just south of Hannibal is one of the first in the
nation, and the first in Missouri, to receive federal stimulus
funding for the development of broadband Internet, which remains
lacking in many rural areas.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that the co-op has strung 450
miles of fiber cable and is delivering high-speed Internet to about
Nixon compared the effort to another visible piece of the
nation’s infrastructure that also began in Missouri.
“Just like Missouri in 1956 was the centerpiece for the
interstate system, the Show-Me State will be the centerpiece” for
broadband, Nixon said.
The Ralls County co-op is using more than $19 million in funding
it received in January 2010. General Manager Dan Strode hopes to
eventually have 1,200 miles of fiber providing super-high-speed
Internet for 4,500 customers.
“The future of communications is coming to Ralls County,”
Strode said. “Everything looks like this will work for rural
Nixon noted the importance of high-speed Internet for
“Every classroom in this region will have access to every book
ever written and every class taught in the world,” said the
Democrat, whose administration has made rural broadband access a
priority through the MoBroadbandNow initiative. “We are confident
that broadband access is a game-changer.”
Adelstein said that in addition to education, health care,
electric utilities and business will be dramatically enhanced by
better and faster Internet access.
He compared the impact of widely available broadband to that of
universally available electricity through the development of rural
electric cooperatives 75 years ago.
Copyright Associated Press